IWA's Photography Competition Winner in Focus

Created on 30/03/2016

Mark Gliddon won IWA's 2017 Calendar photography competition with his colourful picture of Tivertonian being towed by horse along the Grand Western Canal.  IWA's Marketing Manager, Alicen Stenner, asked Mark about his photography.

What camera and lens do you use to produce these wonderful images?

I’ve just got a second hand Sony Alpha 450 DSLR with the 16 to 55mm kit lens and an old Minolta 70-200 zoom lens. I’m currently looking at camera reviews as I’d like to buy a better camera and a selection of lenses at some point in the future.

How did you come to be in situ to take this photo?  Was it a special event, or chance?

I lived besides the Grand Western canal most of my life (my mother still lives there now) so it is somewhere I love to walk along whenever I get a chance.

Are you a photographer or is photography a hobby?

Photography is a hobby that I've only really been doing for the past 4 years. I bought a book that explained about exposure and it gave me the confidence to get away from my camera's auto exposure modes and experiment.

Do you take lots of waterways photos?  What sorts of photos do you like to take?

I enjoy landscape photography. I do a lot of walking and cycling and like discovering new photographic opportunities along the way. I like to then go back and try and photograph them either at dusk or dawn depending on the location.

Have you ever won a competition before?

Yes I won a recent local photography competition about the Grand Western Canal. There were three categories to choose from Landscape, Wildlife and Activities and I was fortunate to win the Landscape category.

Do you think this photo was an award winning photo when you took it?

No as it was very much a grab shot as the horse drawn barge came under the bridge. Ideally I would have used a tripod but there was no time to get one set up on this occasion.

Do you enjoy being by the water?  Are you a boater or walker or cyclist for example?

Mostly walking and cycling but would like to try canoeing this year. I do enjoy the tranquility and wildlife quite often found along waterways.

Do you have a favourite waterway and why is it your favourite?

The Grand Western Canal is close to my heart as it is somewhere I spent a lot of time during my childhood and so holds a lot of happy memories.

Do you have a favourite waterway spot?

I recently visited Symonds Yat in the Forest of Dean with lovely views over the River Wye. I also used to live near Reading and loved the area of the Thames between Sonning and Henley.

Do you have any particularly good waterways memories to share?

As a teenager going night fishing for eels, with two friends along the River Exe near the village of Silverton in Devon, just after a particularly heavy storm. The fish were biting all night and we caught over 100 eels between us.

How did you come across the competition to enter it?

It was suggested by someone who works for the Grand Western Canal park and is a regular reader of IWA’s Bulletin newsletter.  It is great to be able to help promote some of the beautiful waterways we have around the country and the good work of The Inland Waterway Association.

Mark's photograph has generated interest in the Grand Western Canal, a little known waterway which was originally part of an ambitious plan to link the Bristol Channel with the English Channel.  It was thought this would be a way for shipping to avoid the long and perilous journey around the Cornish peninsula and as a route for transporting goods, including coal from South Wales into Somerset and Devon.  The Grand Western Canal now operates as an isolated navigation since the link with Taunton became derelict.  The canal has been owned by Devon County Council since 1971 and it has been designated as a country park.